Shares in Close Brothers were down on the FTSE 250 in afternoon trading after the financial services company reported a fall in pre-tax operating profit in the half year ended 31 January.

The group said that it would be holding its dividend at 13.5 pence per share after announcing a drop in operating pre-tax profit in the period from £61.8 million in the previous year to £55.8 million.

Close Brothers said that its Banking division had seen a 33 per cent increase in adjusted operating profit and a rise in the value of its loan book of nine per cent to £3.2 billion.

The Securities division however reported a decline in adjusted operating profit of nine per cent to £31.1 million. The Asset Management division made a small loss but did see a rise in funds under management of 20 per cent to £8.3 billion.

Last week Close Brothers said it had sold its UK offshore business for a loss of £24.7 million.

Preben Prebensen, Chief Executive of Close Brothers, said, "Close Brothers delivered a good result for the first six months of the year driven by a strong performance from the Banking division and a good performance from the Securities division, particularly Winterflood. The Asset Management division's transformation is well underway as it implements its strategy in UK wealth and asset management. Overall our businesses are well positioned for future growth opportunities."